Every Year in Nepal, according to the Lunar calendar on Baishak Krishna Aunsi (new moon day of the month Baisakh, April/May), Mata Tirtha Aunsi is celebrated, the Nepali “Mother’s day” – “Aama ko Mukh Herne Din”. This is the most popular and significant festival to adore your mother for their love and sacrifice. It is considered a bridge that can connect the world of Deva (god), Pitru (ancestor), and Prithvi (earth) under one philosophy. Just as it is believed that if the grains are dried under the scorching sun on the day of Aunsi, there will be no insects in the grain. Similarly, on the Aunsi of this day, if a love, affection, and respect for her mother are expressed or the deceased mother is remembered, there will be no rift between mother and child’s relationship.
How Mother’s Day is Celebrated in Nepal?
Nepalese both at home and abroad show respect and reverence to their mothers by offering gifts and various delicacies on this day. The people of different communities and tribes have their own way of celebrating mother’s day. Some celebrate it early in the morning while others get together and celebrate it in the evening time. Most prepare food, a tasty feast in the morning, and offer it to their mother in the evening as an “Aama ko mukh herne” ritual, literally “to look upon mother’s face”. The celebration and fun of the festival depend upon the place, climate, and ethnicity. The Newar people group observes Saga by giving various gifts to their mom. They go to their mom’s home with desserts and organic produces to look at their mom’s face.
According to Nepal Calendar Determination Committee, the Hindu holy scriptures narrate that the mothers are 10 times more revered than fathers and extol mothers and place them higher above father, ancestors, and mentors. Every year this day, people whose mothers are passed on visit Mata Tirtha, a holy place 9 kms northwest of Kathmandu, to perform “Shraddha” or “Pinda Daan” to their deceased mother. People in different parts of the country do the ritual at homes or at rivers or any other holy places nearby. Although it is a Hindu tradition, Buddhists also flock here to perform ‘Shraddha’ for their departed mothers. Those who have already lost his/her mother also remember her by making a Sida Daan to Pandit, a Hindu priest. (Sida is food offerings and other pure food materials with clothes, and daan means to offer).
Taittiriya Upanishad (तैत्तिरीय उपनिषद्)
Also according to the Taittiriya Upanishad, which originated in the Vedic era and describe the prayers, mothers are super creation of God and hold the top spot in being’s lives.
मातृ देवो भव।
पितृ देवो भव।
आचार्य देवो भव।
अतिथि देवो भव॥
Meaning: Honour thy Mother as God. Honour thy Father as God. Honour thy Teacher as God. Honour thy Guest as God.
Story Behind Mata Tirtha Aunsi
According to a story, a young cow herder used to take his cows to graze nearby the pond. Whenever he started eating the food during lunchtime a bit of the food fell into the pond. This kept happening for a long time so one day the boy peeped into the pond to find what was going on in the pond. Surprisingly, he saw his dead mother in it.
The boy wanted his mother to go home with him. He insisted and started crying asking her to come along. But she refused and said she was already dead and it is not possible to go back home once someone has died. She said she would however appear in the pond every year on Baishak Krishna Aunsi. The boy agreed and visited the pond to see his mother’s face on the same day every year. Words spread and many other people who had lost their mothers also visited the pond to see their mother’s face on this day. Hence calling the day “Mata Tirtha Aunsi”. In the Sanskrit language, Mata is mother, Tirtha is a pilgrimage, and Aunsi is dark night or new moon day,
It is said once, a lady visited the pond with a wish to see her dead mom’s image but when she didn’t see her mother every after a long wait, the frustrated lady jumped into the pond and died. Since then people stopped seeing their the dead mothers’ faces in the pond.
Mother’s day Sanskrit mantra
स्नात्वा करोतिम य्: श्राद्धं माघो: कृष्णकुहौ दिने ।
वियोग न भवेन्मातु: वार्धक्येऽपी सुनिश्चितंम ।।
तृप्ता भवति तन्माता स्नानमात्रेण चात्र वै ।
ऋण: प्रमुच्यते सद्धो मातृगर्भस्थितोभ्दवै ।।
One who takes a holy bath in Mata Tirtha River every Biskhak Krishna Aunsi, does not need again to come to the mother’s womb for the next life. The person gets salvation from human life and achieves moksha.
This is the mother who showed us the world. She gave birth and preserved us in the womb. Then she held him in her arms. Like the Kalpa tree that fulfills all our desires, aspirations, and desires in our childhood and beyond, all the mothers of this world are also KalpaBrikshs.